The Middle-Class Thief

   By drodriguez  Nov 17, 2009

As the recession drags on there are new reports coming out about an increase in the shoplifting rate worldwide.  With more and more people out of jobs or taking pay cuts it seems some are finding it that much easier to justify a five-finger discount.  Though it may not seem like it to the thief, the ramifications of a rise in stolen goods will only hurt the consumer in the long run.

A recent article from Time magazine reports about a recent survey released from the Center for Retail Research that reveals shoplifting incidents are up by 6 percent this year which represents a whopping $115 billion in business losses.  The article also reports that the "new shoplifter" is surprisingly a member of the middle class and will most often steal things like expensive cheeses, mobile phones, and cosmetics. 

Joshua Bamfield, director of the Britain-based Center for Retail Research reports to Time why the middle-class are finding it easier to shoplift.  Bamfield says, "In addition to the usual criminals, you have lots of newcomers to stealing who figure they don’t run much risk at getting caught, won’t pay much of a price if they are and justify their actions on the hard times we’re all facing."

A recent survey also reveals that a good number of these new shoplifters do not steal out of necessity to feed their loved ones and they see nothing wrong with what they are doing as long as they take from larger corporations or fancy stores.  These people may not realize that in the long run we will all end up paying more for their actions.  As companies absorb the cost for the losses they take due to the increasing number of shoplifting they mark up the price of their products which ultimately will affect the consumer.

What do you think about the reports of the increase in shoplifting this year?

What do you think should be done to bring those numbers down?

Make a Comment

AimeeAken by AimeeAken | Omaha, NE
Dec 03, 2009

It is a crime no matter what.. if you steal because your family is starving for food that might be a different matter, but stealing things that are NOT necessary? Like EXPENSIVE cheese.. not cheese. but phones and cosmetics? I mean come on.. unless you are one of those woman that can not go out of the house without make-up. there is no excuse for stealing .. especially for things you CAN live without. Please people. :P The world makes me sick....

idahospud by idahospud | haines, AK
Nov 27, 2009

I work for a large retail store.Every time someone steals,they steal from my pocket(also known as my bonus) I become overjoyed when I can help catch one of these thieves,because I have yet to see someone steal food out of desperation.ALL of these criminals steal mostly makeup,CD,s,tons of electronic items and high dollar small items,so they can return them for money to supply their DRUG habbit.EVERY item I have seen stolen,has nothing to do with survival.Its all about greed.

joy9281 by joy9281 | TOLEDO, OH
Nov 25, 2009

People complain about the price of everything and I believe this is the real reason that things are priced so high. Including our healthcare costs. I people were honest and diod not steal or unfairly recieveassistance from program designed to help people in hard times we could afford things and we could give to charities more.

Nov 25, 2009

I don't agree with stealing but it is more understandable if someone steals a loaf of bread ect., to feed their family, but expensive cheeses? cosmetics and cell phones? how are these necessary life or death items to steal? There are ways to get items cheaply without having to resort to stealing.

Lusadi by Lusadi | Wasilla, AK
Nov 25, 2009

This has nothing to do with a bad economy and everything to do with bad morals. WIC, Food stamps, and other supports are available for those who truly need them for food. I think the rest goes to permissive, humanistic (It's okay to do if it seems okay to me) outlooks that permeate our society.

Larak12 by Larak12 | Riverside, CA
Nov 24, 2009

That is what bad economy does!

lovelifelisa by lovelifelisa | STRUTHERS, OH
Nov 24, 2009

lalaker101 says: It makes me so angry that we all have to pay for the crime as if the prices are not high enough already. I totally agree with lillia that you should use lots of coupons and wait for a good deal so you can have free or nearly free make up,food,or whatnot without commiting a crime. In Germany they would get there hands cut off for that.

lillia by lillia | WARREN, MI
Nov 23, 2009

I just think this is wrong. Why would someone steal makeup. I live below the poverty level and would never steal. I use alot of coupons. I wait til the make up is clearanced and use coupons on top of it. I usually walk away with free make up without commiting a crime!

mothergoose62 by mothergoose62 | WILKESBORO, NC
Nov 23, 2009

The problem is that it is going to get worse before it gets better simply because the economy is so bad.

lz12ranger by lz12ranger | Houston, TX
Nov 22, 2009

We need to get back to the simple basics that you must take responsibility for your own actions and that there are consequences for poor choices.

amberdana by amberdana | Phoenix, AZ
Nov 22, 2009

I agree with mimiandmonet.

mimiandmonet by mimiandmonet | Crawford, GA
Nov 21, 2009

Well first of all shoplifting is a crime, regardless of the reasons. On another note, more stimulus money will not help one bit and I am disgusted with America's choices. We need to be voting on laws and whether WE WANT them. We also need to be voting on the salaries, raises and benefits of our elected officials. They need to always know that they WORK FOR US!

la_cuata184 by la_cuata184 | San Diego, CA
Nov 21, 2009

This is crazy. I don't want to have to pay the price for someone elses wrongdoings. What are these people thinking? If you can't afford fancy cheese or a cell phone, well too bad. Lots of people don't have cell phones or eat fancy cheese. I have to live within my budget and people that are stealing need to learn to do the same thing.

agaphmou by agaphmou | ASTORIA, NY
Nov 20, 2009

When is the government going to realize that multi-billion dollar stimulous packages to these banks won't put food on our tables?They have put the country in debt for generations to come,needlessly

Alyssarae92293 by Alyssarae92293 | BOYNTON BEACH, FL
Nov 19, 2009

i completely agree with cybrown551